29 November 2011

Curran #3 by Gordon Andrews

Curran #3 (Curran POV, #3)Curran #3 by Gordon Andrews
My rating: ★★

NB: This is a freebie snippet of Curran's POV in the Kate Daniels series. It is a quick read; you can find it on their website here. This one takes place after Kate Daniels book #3, Magic Strikes.

I love my - well, Kate's - Curran!!!

Although - how would Jim/Dali/Mahon or whoever get all this info? That just doesn't make any sense to me. If this information is so dangerous that Kate has fought all of her life to keep it hidden (and Greg, and Voron, and Anna), but Jim/Dali/Mahon can figure it out, then how in the heck can't Roland - who is supposed to be a master builder, ruler of cities for centuries, and rather smart? Yeah. My point exactly.

But still! I love my Curran. Thank you, Gordon Andrews, for making my day!

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Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, #1)Jane Yellow Rock #1
Skinwalker by Faith Hunter
My rating: ★★

This one surprised me in a really good way.

For the first 30% or so, I was not impressed. At all. I didn't like Jane and her ways, I thought the characters were bland and uninteresting, I was irritated by the chapters featuring 'Beast,' I thought the plot was boring, and I couldn't read more than a few pages at a time.

Then one day, after weeks of not touching the book, I pick it up again, read on for a while, same-old, same-old, and then it happened like magic!

The characters became interesting, Jane became a fascinating woman, I was very interested in Beast's POV, and I had to read the whole thing in one sitting.

I am very surprised to say, I am impressed about what Ms. Hunter has brought to the urban fantasy genre. I am so looking forward to reading more about Jane Yellowrock and her adventures.

The cover, though, is a total turnoff. Eh.

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The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas

The Texan's Wager (Wife Lottery, #1)The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas
My rating: ★★

I chose to read this Western romance for a challenge, and I am glad I did.

I love the characters Jodi Thomas created for her novel. This book in set in Texas at the time of the Western frontier and is about Bailee and Carter's "arranged marriage" after a hilarious series of unfortunate events that landed Bailee in trouble.

This is a character-driven book, and oh my, what awesome characters they are! Carter is beyond sweet! And Bailee is funny. I didn't like hearing the beginning because i didn't understand how a woman could be so silly about sexual relations with her husband, but I realized that's how they were brought up in those days. Once I got over that hang-up, I went along with them on their incredibly sweet journey to love.

Pure awesomeness.

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26 November 2011

Ruthless by Anne Stuart

Ruthless (The House of Rohan, #1)House of Rohan #1
Ruthless by Anne Stuart
My rating: ★★
RUTHLESS is my introduction to Anne Stuart and the House of Rohan series.

As introductions go, this is not a bad one at all. I quite liked the story and I also liked the pace, which surprised me. It was paced much slower than I normally read, but that just meant Ms. Stuart spent a lot of time building the characters.

In faster-paced books, the character of Lord Rohan would have annoyed me no end, but because she spent so much time pacing the story, I found myself facing a very flawed, quite tortured man, but a good man no less. Elinor was a fitting heroine. Her strength and vulnerability were a good complement to Lord Rohan's caustic character, and her wit meant she was more than a match for him.

My impression over all is of a good, meaty story with excellent characters, and I am excited to add Anne Stuart to my current repertoire of authors.

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25 November 2011

Changeless by Gail Carriger

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)Parasol Protectorate #2
Changeless by Gail Carriger
My rating: ★★


More than 3.5 but not quite 4 stars. I jumped into the third book in the series without bothering to finish the second because its plot sounded more interesting. Now I am back to #2. CHANGELESS is the second book in the parasol protectorate series, and it follows a new adventure of werewolf Lord Conall Maccon and his wife, the soulless Alexia Maccon.

I like the story. None of it felt fillerish. I love the humor and the writing and the unique feel it has - a werewolf-vampire-soulless world set in 1800's United Kingdom: very unique and very well-executed. I am loving the relationship and the banter between Lord and Lady Maccon. Their love does not overshadow the story, but it doesn't take a backseat either; it strikes the perfect balance.

What I am NOT loving,however, is some of the supporting characters: Ivy Hisselpenny is so stupid and annoying and doesn't serve any useful purpose, not even comic relief. Neither does Alexia's family. I am just grumpy because I had to spend more time than I liked with those people in this book.

But yeah! I am really enjoying this series.

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23 November 2011

Blameless by Gail Carriger

Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate, #3)Parasol Protectorate #3
Blameless by Gail Carriger
My rating:★★

Gail Carriger is fast becoming one of my new favorite authors. I love this series!

BLAMELESS is book three of the series. I haven't actually finished book 2 - I peeked at the end and saw that the events in book three were going to be far more interesting, so I took a break from reading the second book to jump headlong into the third :P

In this one, Alexia leaves for Rome after her pregnancy was spurned by her husband, the werewolf Alpha of Woolsey Pack, Lord Conall Maccon. She heads to Italy, to see if she can find some evidence to make him see the error of his ways. There are more attempts on her life.

Back in London, Lord Maccon finally comes to his senses, realizes that Alexia would never be unfaithful to him, and he wants to go and find her and bring her back. But there are other more pressing matters to attend to, and he can't leave until he has seen to them.

I love Alexia and Conall. They make me laugh so much. There is not much I have to say about this book/any book in this series. The mystery is intriguing, and some of the characters are gems. I enjoy them immensely and would heartily recommend them!!

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21 November 2011

Firewalker by Allyson James

Firewalker (Stormwalker, #2)Firewalker by Allyson James
My rating: ★★
This was a waste of time. The only reason it wasn't a colossal waste of time was that after 40% of the way through, i gave up and skimmed most of it. I am NOT putting this as a DNF because of all the minutes of my life I won't be able to get back.

It was bad. Simply bad. Same inane characters from the first book; a different plot, but also inane all the same. Seriously? EVERY male to meet the main character says she's got balls/spunk? I frankly can't see what is so special about her, except for her penchant of making unbelievably stupid, idiotic acquaintances.

Just bad.

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20 November 2011

Killing Floor by Lee Child

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)Jack Reacher #1
Killing Floor by Lee Child
My rating: ★★
This is my first novel by Lee Child and my first thriller in a very long while.

The overarching impression that I get from this book is that a lot of people die, and very violently too. It really is something I can't quite understand.

That being said, I enjoyed my first Jack Reacher novel quite a bit. I like Jack. And I like the writing. The humor and POV is not so much snarky as it is dry... and wry. So that was great.

As for the mystery bit, I am one of those people who can't see what's coming even if it hits them in the face, so I was kept fascinated by how Reacher came to his conclusions/made his deductions.

It was a good novel. I enjoyed it.

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17 November 2011

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

CoralineCoraline by Neil Gaiman
My rating: ★★★★

I love Neil Gaiman.

I love the animated version of Coraline
(I watched it long before I had any idea that the book existed), and let me tell you, that movie doesn't do this book any justice at all.

Well anyway, I just got around to reading it and it was fantastic, as expected.

Neil Gaiman's descriptions are gold. As I was reading it, I had the distinct feeling that this was Coraline's book, ie. that a small girl was telling her story, not an adult telling a young girl's story. It's wonderful, just like I knew it would be.

In (Gaiman's) own words, his book tells the story of Coraline, who was small for her age and who would find herself in the darkest danger. By the time it was over, she would find what lay behind mirrors, have a close call with a bad hand, and come face-to-face wither her other mother; she'd rescue her true parents from a fate worse than death and triumph against overwhelming odds.

He also says it's the weirdest book he's written and the book he's most proud of.
I say he's right.

Gaiman said he wrote a book that children would experience as an adventure and that that gave adults nightmares. He is right. It does give me the creeps (both the book and the movie). I loved it and highly recommend it!

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15 November 2011

The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles, #1)The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark
My rating: ★★
Callie McFay is hired by a college in the small town of Fairwick. While there, an incubus comes to her in her dreams at night, seducing the life out of her, literally. Incidentally, it seems to be the same incubus that tormented her dreams when she was younger. As she settles into the town she realizes that the townspeople are not your normal, run-of-the-mill townspeople. Instead they are a motley assortment of witches, vamps, demons and other otherworldly creatures. To save Callie they must banish her demon lover from her dreams before he manages to suck her life out.

The book is categorized under romance, but it didn't read like one.This book the same dark and serious tone that Rebecca has. The book is not fast paced. It is a meaty ride that takes us deep into the town of Fairwick and the lives of its ensemble characters. It got to a point I couldn't accurately remember who was who, but that didn't dampen my enjoyment. I liked seeing the lives of the other characters. The books also starts slowly, but once I acclimatized to the pace, I started to enjoy myself.

Ms. Dark's book is written in painstaking detail, with great finesse, and it shows. I found myself involved with the characters, eager to see what would happen, despite my misgivings. At the beginning, I wasn't so sure I was enjoying the book. Callie could be annoying sometimes, and I felt the whole situation with her human boyfriend Paul was extraneous and did not even need to be included. But as I plodded on, I realised I was enjoying myself, immensely so. I liked it a lot. If Ms. Dark were to write a sequel to this, I would get it.

*I received this eARC free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful, #2)Strangely Beautiful  #2
The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
My rating: ★★

This tale was in a sense, Darkly Luminous, I guess. For me, it just didn't have the magic that made its predecessor a strangely beautiful tale. The stuff I found endearing in the first was tedious in this one.

Alexi and Percy, though lovable in the first installment, were rather annoying in this one. "Oh. Percy belongs to ME! I won't allow her to go into ANY danger, even though if she doesn't we all die and the whole world with it and Percy spends eternity being tortured by the dark." Yes, that was pretty much Alexi throughout. Annoying.

Percy wasn't much better. "Oh no my Alexi, please believe me. I love. I won't have any opinions of my own, because without your constant professions of undying love, my life is over. Oh please, please profess your undying love once again. And don't doubt mine. I will NEVER disobey you." Yeah. NO.

The rest of the cast were just there. As usual. Rebecca, who's as unserious a human being if I've ever read about one; Elijah, who's not very likable at all; Josephine who's just there; the vicar, who's bland and forgettable and whose name I just forgot; Jane, who's marginally interesting.

A new cast of characters - Beatrice, Ibrahim, and Aodhan joined in.

All in all, it was a good tale, but nowhere near as good as the first tale. It was all very melodramatic and theatrical (it makes so much sense when you find that Ms. Hieber has a background in theater :D)

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My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers, #2)Soul Screamers #2
My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent
My rating: ★★

Writing a review for this series is really hard.
Because I absolutely cannot stand Kaylee and Nash, the two protagonists.
So that immediately colors whatever view I have of the book/my enjoyment of it.
So why do I continue to read this, you might ask.
Well, because Rachel Vincent has managed to combine some really excellent writing with really excellent imagination to create a fascinating mythology and tale. I want more of that. So I put up with the idiocy that are Kaylee and Nash. And almost all her other characters. I tell ya, the story would be s much more excellent without almost all of them.

Especially Nash. His selfishosity and arrogance and self-absorbance is mind-boggling. I still can't get over how crassly he treats Tod, who's his (dead) older brother. He doesn't treat Kaylee much better either. CAN'T STAND THIS DUDE! IhatehimIhatehimIhatehim!

Kaylee is not much better than Nash. Added to her usual God-complex and her selfishosity, is hypocrisy.She was horrified Tod would be so heartless as to offer another soul for Addison's body (because she'd been his girlfriend while he was alive.. Um, Hello, Ms. Kaylee - you did the exact same for your best friend Emma. And all you do is go on and on about how you don't regret replacing Emma's soul with someone else's. So what makes you so special? Or give you the right to be horrified at Tod's (rather reprehensible) actions? OMG, I don't like her either. But not as much as I hate Nash. Those two deserve each other.

Tod - my so-called favorite character in this series, was much more of an ass in this book than in the first. He was just as selfish as Kaylee, and his sneaking in on Kaylee and Nash was just icky and an a**hole move (sorry Mom :D - no other way to describe it). That and deliberately misleading Kaylee even though he knew full well she could die in the Netherworld. So yes, he grated on my nerves in this one and I dislike him as much as I do Kaylee now. But not like Nash. No one is as detestable as Nash.

I also still think Kaylee's dad is an idiot (and the person from whom Kaylee got her self-absorbance/judgmentalism/selfishosity from - in this case the apple didn't fall far from the tree. At all). But now I am beginning to believe Nash's mom is an idiot too.

So there you have it. A well-written book whose characters I absolutely dislike.
I take two stars off for that.

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01 November 2011

Magic Graves (anthology) by Ilona Andrews and Jeaniene Frost

Magic Graves: One for the Money / A Questionable ClientMagic Graves: One for the Money / A Questionable Client by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: ★★★★

Magic Graves is an anthology that features an already-published work each from Ilona Andrews and Jeaniene Frost. Both stories are excellent.

A Questionable Client - 5 stars

This features a prequel to the Kate Daniels series; it is the story of how Kate met Saiman. I liked the younger Kate, and I liked the mythology in the novel. Saiman is still Saiman, as amoral as ever. It was a fun treat to look inside their first meeting.

One for the Money - 5 stars

This novella features Cat and Bones on bodyguard/whodunit detail, and it was a good read. Be warned though, this novella is like #3.5 in the Night Huntress series, so for someone like me, who'd read only the first book, there are MAJOR spoilers in there. I was quite sad to be so spoiled. Oh well, serves me right, I guess. But it's also great.

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Angels of Darkness (anthology)

Angels of DarknessAngels of Darkness by Ilona Andrews
My rating: ★★

This is one of my favorite anthologies till date, as it contains 3 of my very favorite authors.

Alphas: Origins, by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars
I loved this one. Skill and versatiity from two authors I adore. The writing is so different from the typical Ilona Andrews voice and I am excited. I am excited for a new series (fingers crossed), hopefully starring Lucas and Karina.

Nocturne, by Sharon Shinn - 5 stars
My favorite. Sharon Shinn writes with elegance and an understated beauty that drags you unawares into her stories. My favorite parts of the story was the legacy Rachel and Gabriel left Samaria, and any mentions of them made me smile.

Angel's Wolf, by Nalini Singh - 4 stars
Enjoyable story.

Ascension, by Meljean Brook - 2 stars
Now I am not familiar with Meljean's Guardians series, so it could be why I had such a problem getting into it. It was my least favorite story, and the one I thought was least well-written. I didn't enjoy either the hero or heroine, and while I felt their lust, i felt nothing else for them.

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Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison

Serpent's Kiss (Elder Races, #3)Elder Races #3
Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison
My rating: ★★

This is the third novel in the Elder Races series and Rune's story, with the Vampyre Queen Carling as his love interest.

I do think this is a much better book than the travesty that was Storm's Heart, but it is nowhere near as good as Dragon Bound. It was okay.

Hands down the best thing about the book was the heroine, Carling. I liked exploring her backstory and her motivations for her actions. She was also a strong, likable character. I did not like Carling from the previous books, but I am surprised to find myself in love with her in this novel. She rocks!

The person that didn't rock, much to my surprise, was Rune. I have loved him through Dragon Bound and Storm's Heart, but that love stopped in Serpent's Kiss. He did not seem funny to me, and all his "cool-talk/witty repartees" missed the mark for me: I found them hollow, unfunny, and sometimes quite disrespectful. Simply put, I didn't like the person Rune was in this book, and I found myself liking him less and less as the book progressed; I did not like the person he became in the end at all.

I was also very disappointed that he did not share the fact of his changing the past with Dragos and the Gryphons, or the fact that he'd mated with Carling (until he couldn't hide it later). His excuse was that he didn't trust them. That doesn't wash with me. You would think you could trust people who had been your friends and comrades in arms for centuries. Especially as they could feel the effects of his changing the past. But apparently Rune's definition of friendship and mine are different.

Another thing that bothered me was the Rift between Dragos and Rune at the end. It just didn't make sense in the grand scheme of things, and I'd have expected Rune to be less of an ass. You don't hide essential info from your closest friends and yet expect them to act as if they knew the entire picture. Needless to say I didn't think he deserved the friendship of the other wyr, much less Dragos' friendship. Dragos did not do anything wrong and acted very fairly, given what little he knew and given that he had the interests of the entire wyr race to consider. Sigh. Rune was so much less than he appeared to be in the other books. Womp.

One final thing that didn't work for me was the love. I loved Carling, and I could see her relationship blossom with Rune. It just did nothing for me - I could see the love but could not feel it. I went into this book worried that Rune would be stuck with Carling, but now I am kinda sad that Carling is stuck with Rune.

Needless to say, I am not too keen on continuing the series after this one. I'll just read Dragon Bound to regain my happy memories and quit while I'm ahead. But I am glad I read this book. If nothing at all, it wiped the bad taste of Storm's Heart from my mouth.

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Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh

Lord of the Abyss (Royal House of Shadows, #4)Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh
My rating: ★★

Sigh. This is the problem with reviewing books way after you read them: you can't remember what your exact thoughts were. Anyway, here goes nothing....

4 stars for Lord of the Abyss
Nalini Singh has this writing style that just appeals to me. When I pick up book she has written, I know, more often than not, that I will enjoy her work. Lord of the Abyss is no exception. I liked the writing and I like the characters. Micah made me smile a lot, and Liliana was a brave girl. Both hero and heroine deserved each other - in a good way: they complemented the other. the story development was the best in the quartet. With regards to sensuality, the heat factor was rather amped up in this one, so that it was more like Gena Showalter's than Jessica Andersen's or Jill Moroe's. All in all, I do think this was the best in the series as a whole.

Why I gave it three stars
The series as a whole is not very well done. As a quartet, I felt it was not very cohesive - there were no ties that bind. A few sentences about siblings here and there didn't connect the works quite as well as I'd hoped, so that was disappointing.

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